Spring 2012 Trojan Web Debates Rules & FAQs

Spring 2012 Trojan Web Debates Rules & FAQs

Please read the following document to be sure you are clear of the rules and schedule of the tournament.  For quick access, this document is divided into the following frequently asked questions:

Why should I register?

The Trojan Web Debates are an excellent opportunity for students looking to test their argument skills to engage competitors from across the world, seek prizes and awards, and help support ending discrimination and violence all at the same time.

Students don’t need experience to debate. This unique event is an opportunity to showcase the possibilities of deliberation in new media environments.  College and University students from anywhere in the world are invited to join.  Plus, you can easily have your friends and family cheer you on via YouTube comments, Facebook, and Twitter! 

Who is eligible to compete?

All debaters must be over the age of 18 and currently enrolled in a degree program in a college or university.  All participants must participate in all preliminary debates.  Any participant that forfeits a debate will be removed from subsequent rounds of the tournament.  Any participant that fails to upload speeches before established deadlines will forfeit the round and be dropped from competition for remaining rounds.

How do you compete in this format?

The Trojan Web Debates will take place entirely online. Debaters will debate asynchronously in a one-on-one format by uploading a series of video speeches to YouTube, and then submitting the URL of their responses to the tournament director.  The tournament director will compile the video submissions into a running video playlist for each debate – thus to follow the debate, competitors watch the playlist to which they are assigned.  Every competitor will take part in two preliminary rounds of debate between April 2nd-April 6th.  The top 25% of competitors (based on speaking points and win/loss records)after round two will qualify for an additional two rounds of competition between April 9th-April 13th. All debates will take place in English.  To see a sample judge ballot form, please click here

At the start of the tournament each debater will be randomly assigned to two debates – one in which they will propose a political party that they believe presents the best options for the future, and one in which they will refute the political party suggested by their opponent.  Judging will take place at the conclusion of all speeches for week 1. Assignments will be delivered to competitors and judges via e-mail and posted via our Facebook page.

How do I register to compete or judge?

Go to http://bit.ly/Spring2012TWD and complete the registration form.  All entries must be received by March 30, 2012. 

What is the cost of entry?

There is no monetary cost to participate in the Spring 2012 Trojan Web Debates.  We do, however, ask that students identify a teacher or coach to sponsor them as a judge for the tournament, if possible.  However, if you would like to enter the tournament but cannot identify a sponsoring coach or faculty member, please contact Jim Maritato at maritato@usc.edu.  Volunteer judging may be available to help.

What is the schedule?

Preliminary debates: April 2nd through April 6th
Mon. 4/2 – Post Your Proposition Constructive in Your Affirmative Debate
Tues. 4/3 – Post Your Opposition Constructive in Your Negative Debate 
Wed. 4/4 – Post Your Proposition Rebuttal in Your Affirmative Debate
Thurs. 4/5 – Post Your Opposition Rebuttal & Closing Remarks in your
Negative Debate 
Fri. 4/6 – Post Your Proposition Closing Remarks in Your Affirmative Debate 

Judging for preliminary debates: Saturday, April 7 to Sunday April 8.

Qualifying debates: October 24th through October 28th.
Mon. 4/9 – Post Your Proposition Constructive in Your Affirmative Debate
Tues. 4/10 – Post Your Opposition Constructive in Your Negative Debate 
Wed. 4/11 – Post Your Proposition Rebuttal in Your Affirmative Debate
Thurs. 4/12 – Post Your Opposition Rebuttal & Closing Remarks in your Negative Debate 
Fri. 4/13 – Post Your Proposition Closing Remarks in Your Affirmative Debate

Judging for Week 2 Debates:  Saturday, April 14 to Sunday April 15.

What is the format of debates?

Students will be assigned to propose a political party in one debate (the role of proposition speaker) and oppose the party chosen by their opponent in another debate (the role of opposition speaker). When each schedule is released students will have their sides selected for them. Debaters will be expected to adhere to the following time constraints and format:

Proposition speaker’s opening speech: 4 minutes
Opposition speaker’s opening speech : 5 minutes
Proposition speaker’s rebuttal: 3 minutes
Opposition speaker’s rebuttal and closing remarks: 4 minutes
Proposition speaker’s rebuttal and closing remarks: 2 minutes

Please note: Debaters whose videos are more than 30 seconds longer than the maximum length for any given speech will forfeit their debates.

Who judges the debates / Are competitors required to provide judging?

We require that participants provide a judge who can judge two 20 minute debates debates between 9:00 AM PST on April 7th and 5:00 PM PST on April 8th. Judges should be professionals in any number of fields and have a bachelors degree or equivalent. Judges are asked to support an evaluation of each debate that fairly attempts to determine which debater was most effective in presenting their arguments and refuting those of their opponent. Judges will be provided with a rubric to evaluate the debate and to determine the single winner in each debate. The rubric will also allow judges to provide feedback as to how each debater may improve their performance. To see a sample ballot, please clickhere

Please note: If judges do not render a decision for a debate by the established deadline the school they represent will be disqualified from the tournament.

How are debaters evaluated?

Debaters both attempt to persuade their judges and improve the quality of public argument. They should strive to inform lay audiences, even as they recognize that their judges will have professional or academic training in argumentation. Debaters are encouraged to consult research on the topic and to support their arguments with relevant and credible evidence.  The goal of a successful debater should be to construct a well-reasoned and well supported argument that is responsive to their opponents.

In addition to competitive win/loss records, participants will also be evaluated on the effectiveness of their delivery, use of supporting evidence, reasoning, and refutation skills.  Participants will be ranked on a 1-5 scale  in each of these categories (5 is the maximum ranking for excellent performance and 1 is the lowest ranking).  Rankings will be considered along with competitive records to determine the eight debaters who will advance to elimination rounds.

Are there awards?

The top 25% of competitors will advance to week 2. Debaters advancing to week 2 will receive Amazon.com gift cards based on their overall win/loss records and speaking grades, ranging from $25 to $100.

What equipment do I need to compete?

Participants will need to be able to access the World Wide Web, record and watch streaming Internet video footage and communicate via e-mail.  All judges and debaters will need the following technology to participate:

●A personal computer with a broadband Internet connection, capable of running a web browser and accessing YouTube.  We recommend participants use Firefox 3.6 / Internet Explorer 8 or higher.

●A means of recording videos of at least 5 minutes in length. This can be achieved with a webcam and microphone on a laptop computer, an external camera and laptop, or iPhones, Android Phones, or Blackberry devices with the YouTube app installed.

●An account on YouTube.com

●We strongly recommend that you ensure the functionality of your computer and Internet connection prior to the tournament.  We also recommend that you access YouTube.com and ensure that you can successfully upload and view videos before the start of the tournament.

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